2019 IDeA competition winners

July 24, 2019
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Male student testing a hand strength instrument with an elderly man in a wheelchair.

OTTAWA – Today, nine university students and student teams are winners of the national 2019 Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA) competition for their work in breaking down accessibility barriers on their campuses and in their communities.

IDeA is a national competition that challenges university students to develop innovative, practical and cost-effective solutions to address accessibility issues affecting people with disabilities. By collaborating with industry, government and community partners, students take an inclusive design approach to create concepts, tools, programs and initiatives that help overcome physical, technological, systemic and attitudinal barriers. Through IDeA, students gain valuable hands-on learning experience while contributing to the creation of an accessibility culture in Canada.

Meet the 2019 IDeA competition winners

The 2019 IDeA competition opened on November 1, 2018 and closed on April 30, 2019. A committee of accessibility experts selected the nine winners after evaluating 55 outstanding submissions.

This year’s first-place winners will receive $5000 and an all-expenses paid trip to Ottawa to present their projects at the FWD50 Conference on November 7, 2019. Bringing together industry, start-ups, government, community partners and innovative thinkers from around the world, FWD50 explores how we can embrace new technologies and innovations to foster a more inclusive and prosperous Canadian society.

Administered by Universities Canada, IDeA is part of a larger effort to advance equity, diversity and inclusion on university campuses and across Canada. The competition is funded by the Government of Canada’s  Social Development Partnership Program.


“Congratulations to the winning students and teams of the 2019 IDeA competition, who are finding new and innovative ways to make their communities more accessible and inclusive for Canadians with disabilities. Addressing physical, systemic and attitudinal barriers in society is vital as we move toward a truly accessible Canada, and this year’s IDeA participants are helping achieve that goal. Our government is proud to support Universities Canada in this important initiative to foster a culture of accessibility and inclusion in Canada.”
– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility

“The winners of the 2019 IDeA competition have shown what amazing progress can be made when we work collaboratively and creatively to tackle complex social issues. These students are helping foster inclusive university campuses where all students, faculty and staff are supported to achieve their full potential, ultimately resulting in a more innovative, prosperous and inclusive Canada. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners.”
– Paul Davidson, president, Universities Canada


About ESDC’s Social Development Partnership Program
The Social Development Partnerships Program helps improve the lives of children and families, people with disabilities and other vulnerable Canadians. The Program has two funding components: Disability, and Children and Families.

About Universities Canada
Universities Canada is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, advancing higher education, research and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians.

Media contact:

Lisa Wallace
Assistant Director, Communications
Universities Canada
[email protected]

Tagged:  Equity, diversity and inclusion, Research and innovation

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